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Villa Park Again Defers Decision on Fire Authority

SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

For the second month in a row, the City Council has voted to defer a decision on whether Villa Park will join a countywide fire authority.

At issue is a proposed Joint Powers Authority that would govern the county Fire Department.

The proposed authority, scheduled to be in operation this fall, would consist of representatives from the county Board of Supervisors and one person each from the 16 incorporated cities currently served by the Orange County Fire Department.

Villa Park is the only city among the 16 that has so far refused to ratify the proposed governing authority. Three members of the five-member Villa Park City Council have announced opposition to the proposal. They said the governing rules for the new fire authority are vague and might lead to tax increases.

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The Villa Park council has frequently debated the proposed fire authority but has never taken a formal vote on whether to accept it or reject it. Instead, the council both at its July meeting and again at its monthly meeting Aug. 23 simply voted to defer action on the question.

Mayor Barry L. Denes and Councilmen Bob Patchin and Joseph S. Barsa have led the criticism against the proposed new fire authority. Councilmen Bob Bell and John Frackelton have been less critical of the proposal and have warned that Villa Park must not isolate itself.

Irvine City Manager Paul O. Brady Jr., who represents all the other city managers for the fire authority, has said the new system will be launched this fall whether or not Villa Park joins.

In the meantime, Villa Park has asked the county Board of Supervisors if it could be given its share--about $635,000--of county fire-protection money. If the supervisors agree, Villa Park will explore alternative fire protection, such as contracting with the Orange Fire Department.

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